iUniverse talks with Lucas A. Dyer, author of A Battle Won by Handshakes: The Story of Alpha Company 1/5. Lucas relates the exciting story behind his book, and his successes as both a Marine in Afghanistan and as a writer.
My book is called A Battle Won by Handshakes: The Story of Alpha Company 1/5. Alpha Company 1/5 (pronounced “one-five”) is a Marine Corps infantry unit based out of Camp Pendleton, California and is the most decorated units in all of the Marine Corps. I was a part of this unit when I deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2009. Our mission was to weed out all of the Taliban fighters and make the area of Nawa a safe place in order for the August elections. In doing so, we found that killing the enemy wasn’t working in our favor, so we took on a different tactic of fighting called Counterinsurgency (COIN). By winning the “hearts and minds” of the people, we were more successful in providing peace and prosperity.
The initial inspiration came from when my deployment ended and I went over all of my notes; which I organized in chronological order from day 1 to my last combat patrol. In doing so I realized that I had an interesting story in front of me that I felt the world should know about. More so for the fellow Marines I fought with so years from now we could look back at the book and remember vividly what we accomplished. Our history is now forever written. The longevity of what we did is the wish I desire to promote. I want our kids to know about what we sacrificed and we did, 20 or 30 years from today.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
There are many facets of combat, and it’s not pretty. War is real, it is vicious, and the enemy doesn’t care about who we are. The reality is overwhelming, and my book paints a realistic story of the good and the bad. We were brave men who in the worst of conditions found hope to make Nawa, Afghanistan a better place.
Are you working on a sequel?
Currently I am not. The thought is there; however I am planning a series next. I intend to take my other Marine Corps deployments and turn those into a fiction based series.
Yes. I have done everything from phone interviews to Podcasts on iTunes. There are current events in the works as we speak which involve getting my book approved for the Marine Corps Commandants Reading list — this is HUGE! I have been talking with Barnes & Noble to get my book into several stores here in California, as well as local media outlets to run a story on my book. I recently was interviewed by the local paper which is running a great piece on the book as well. I am always searching and looking for exposure.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience?
My favorite part was the end piece, when the book arrived in the mail and all the hard work was finalized. I felt as if I was on top of the world. The whole process of working with iUniverse was amazing. iUniverse stood out from the beginning and really made me feel important. I wasn’t just another guy with a book so-to-speak. iUniverse had me feeling like I was already a bestselling author with the greatest story.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The best advice I received while writing this book — and I will pass it on — was this. The final end-state desired is the impetus behind the whole process. In order to get there it is not a few giant leaps, rather many small bounds. Write a few pages a day then step away and live life. Go back and write some more. Step away and forget about the book. Re-visit a few days later and write some more. Eventually in time, your book will be in your hands, and that is the greatest feeling a writer can imagine.
For more information you can visit www.abattlewonbyhandshakes.com or follow me on twitter @ABWbH_Lucas / or like me on facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/A-Battle-Won-by-Handshakes-The-Story-of-Alpha-Company-15/290277754476814